|New From Blue Begonia Press
Compared with the gorgeous, sensual worlds inhabited by Takacs’ speakers, the disorienting loveliness of Utah’s landscape seems almost as plain as the word “desert” to easterners’ ears. Through these formally varied, affectionate, and attentive lyrics, however, Blue Patina gently charts the overlapping territories of self, memory, and appetite its wise, flawed, intensely alert speakers inhabit every day, wherever they physically live in the present. Takacs’ work doesn’t idealize, but writes with “farmhouse aura inside skyscraper.” This imaginative attitude encourages readers to recognize both “the flourishing” and “the deadweight” of daily life and the vitality of a busy, private mind: the everyday drama of the wicked neighborhood cat, the irresistible erotics of flannel, and the unexpected deviance of lavender, garlic, and lime. Takacs’ poems show us what it is to be in love with places, with any place, but also to have the courage and wits to keep moving.
Blue Patina. Nancy Takacs is in the shade of high desert canyon walls. She's quiet, steady, clear. She's resting her hand on her hip, running her eyes over rock darkened by sun and dew and time. She's looking for and finding those telling scratches in the indigo, the petroglyphs, the earlier times and beyond. Her own times, all there in the present. Recorded. The Jersey girl, her family, her friends, the neighborhood, the school and the church, the boys, the streets. The way out. All the way to this Utah map. The people, their meeting places, their times alone. The high desert. The life away, the waters of Superior, the forest, its creatures, the flowers and plants, the garden inside the fence line between the bear and the cabin door. Recorded. Clear scratches in the blue patina of the high desert. The desert varnish. Still, persisting. Hard earned, hard edged, carefully etched. She's forward looking. There's more up canyon.
Besides being one of the best kept secrets in Rocky Mountain literature, Nancy Takacs is genuinely one of the most generous and very most talented poets I have ever read. When she finds her way into an image, a drift of figurative language, or a crackling story, she bulldoggedly gets her teeth into it, never lets go until it thunders, and shakes it until it gives up all its secrets, calls out calf rope, and says I give. She's just flat that good. And yes, as a matter of fact, yes, I would take this book with me to the deserted island for my end of life hermitage. For more information on that topic as well as my opinion on whether you should read this book, please consult the closing sentence of James Joyce's ULYSSES. Yes.
About the Author
Nancy Takacs is the author three chapbooks, Pale Blue Wings, Juniper, and Wild Animals, and a full-length book, Preserves. She is a former creative writing professor and wilderness studies instructor at the College of Eastern Utah in Price, and has, for the past decade, worked with inmates, seniors, and children, for the Utah Arts Council’s Artists in Education program. A recipient of the 2013 Sherwin W. Howard Poetry Award from Weber: a Journal of the Contemporary West, the WFOP Kay Saunders New Poet Prize, several writing awards from the Utah Arts Council, and the Nation/Discovery Award, she holds an MFA from the University of Iowa. Originally from Bayonne, New Jersey, she lives in Wellington, Utah, and in Bayfield, Wisconsin, near Lake Superior, with her husband and two dogs.
The Light You Find by Terry Martin
"The Light You Find sings a hard-earned love song to central Washington's Yakima Valley, the hills surrounding it, and the river that is still transforming it."—Elizabeth Austen